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Tokyo Ravens attempts to create its own spin on spiritualists within anime as they are incorporated into a modern era setting with Harutora learning more of his family roots as he is trained in being a spiritualist alongside cousin Natsume and finds himself caught up in hostilities between the Onmyo Agency tasked with keeping spiritual disturbances to a minimum and the cult-like Twin Horn Syndicate trying to stir up disturbances that will lead to the revival of their worshiped leader, Yakou. |
Saying that things are a mixed bag with this series is quite an understatement. On the one hand, it does rather well for the most part at creating a unique world for spiritualists within Tokyo Ravens as the series has laws established in the modern era for spiritualists to continue honing their craft, while have a law enforcement body in the form of the Onmyo Agency tasked with keeping their activities in check to prevent instigators like the Twin Horn Syndicate from wrecking havoc on human society. The Twin Horn Syndicate create much of the conflict within the series as they are responsible for stirring up a series of events throughout the series to try reviving Yakou, a powerful spiritualist whose reception among those in the world of spiritualists is a mixed one due to an infamous event he was a major influence in from the past. This eventually leads Natsume and Harutora to get caught up in the conflict toward the second half of the series, as they are direct descendants of Yakou from being in the same family line. The spiritualist elements also contribute to the show's engaging action scenes as shikigami and magic of various forms are used by spiritualists against one another throughout the show, leading to some great fight choreography in spite of the conspicuous CG animation that is used for rendering many of the powers used by the spiritualists throughout the show.
In spite of its unique premise though, Tokyo Ravens does have a number of shortcomings that cripple its quality to a good extent. The first half suffers from a number of episodes that are typical of high school comedy anime titles with the character archetypes and situations played up and the show making some failed attempts at trying to milk humor off Natsume's need to cross-dress as a boy while a student at the Onmyo Academy with Harutora. The large cast of characters and conflicts that build up throughout the show can usually make it hard to follow what is going on at points if this is your first time going through the show, especially in its second half when events escalate with the Twin Horn Syndicate. The final episodes also suffer a bit in some rather convenient plot and character developments with how Harutora and Natsume's situations are resolved, mainly coming from some shocking developments that take place regarding the upbringings of our two lead characters and their fates.
Overall, I suppose your mileage may vary with how well you warm up to Tokyo Ravens. While offering decent world-building and plot developments with its spiritualist premise, the series peaks in its second half as you have to struggle through mediocre points in its first half and deal with final episodes that offer too convenient a climax for how Harutora and Natsume resolve their situations. I would say rent or stream this series first before you decide on committing to a purchase of it.
Last updated Wednesday, November 11 2015. Created Wednesday, November 11 2015.
(Two episodes watched):|
Episode one of Tokyo Ravens seemed better than I had expected; nobody got killed and no hideous evil being got destroyed (unless you count a tree). It looked more like a romantic triangle than a episodic series of weekly good vs evil magical battles. Episode two, however, was largely what I had hoped the show wouldn't be: too much magic and not enough character development. Magic doesn't particularly intrigue me, especially not when shows take a 'magic for magic's sake' attitude. Never use a gimmick (like 'magic') as a substitute for good writing and likeable characters. The romantic triangle possibility was dashed and I found myself distinctly unmoved by what was clearly supposed to be a tragic incident. I can't get very interested in shamanism, since it makes little sense. Neither do the actions of the main characters, who feel obliged by duty to take on a fight against an opponent which they know they can't possibly beat. This show uses mecha-like magical creatures to try to whip up excitement, but action doesn't excite me much when I don't care about the people in danger. The plot just seems contrived and stereotypical. Perhaps I will watch another episode, perhaps not.
Last updated Tuesday, October 29 2013. Created Tuesday, October 15 2013.